Powys Digital History Project

Elan Village 3
Avoiding the evils of drink

The extracts on this
page are from
"The Future Water
Supply of Birmingham"
by Thomas Barclay,
published in 1898.

Stringent regulations
The problem of avoiding drunken behaviour in Elan Village was a particular worry to the authorities. They decided that prohibition would not work, and sensibly decided upon operating their own licensed canteen for the sale of alcoholic drinks, with very firm controls on the amount which could be bought.

An official report noted that: "stringent regulations have been enacted, which are not merely printed and hung on the walls, but are actually enforced. While it cannot be said that the attempt to regulate the drink traffic has created a Utopia, it may be asserted that the evil results of drinking have been reduced to a minimum."

 Extracts from
the Elan Village
Canteen Rules

Canteen rules extract 
  Canteen rules extract 
Canteen rules extract
The location of
the Elan Valley dams
and reservoirs
is shown on the
sketch map.   

The report also noted that:
"There are 120 to 150 women in the settlement, and none of these are allowed to enter the ordinary bar, although they can obtain in the jug department liquor for consumption off the premises".
It seems that the Canteen was very popular with the 'steadier portion' of the men, but the 'more rowdy element' headed out of the village when possible to find a drinking establishment with more relaxed regulations ! The nearby Elan Valley Hotel was built at this time and was to profit from liquor sales to workers on the waterworks scheme. A private footbridge was provided as a shortcut over the river, much to the alarm of the authorities who were trying to keep drinking under control amongst their workers.
The profits from the Canteen were used to help the whole community by contributing substantially to the costs of the hospital, school, and other shared facilities.

There are 7 pages on Elan Village. Use the box links below to view the other pages. 

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